UK bee deaths seen reaching crisis point

Almost one in three of the UK's 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring, the Guardian reported a survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) as finding.

The catastrophic losses will not only result in a shortage of honey, the report said, but will also affect British farmers. The hives contribute around £165 million (US$313 million) a year to the UK economy by pollinating fruits and vegetables, it said.

But the cause of the high mortality is unclear. The National Bee Unit has attributed it to the wet summer in 2007 and in the early part of
this spring, which confined bees to their hives.

The mysterious colony collapse disorder (CCD), which has devastated US honey production, has been seen spreading to Canada, France, Germany and Italy, but has not yet been confirmed by the government in Britain.

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